Our large ship models, previously displayed in our Great Hall, have always been popular. Back in January we had to close access to them in the process of changing out two major galleries. They were moved to a different space and I’m happy to report that the gallery is open and the models back on view! We’ve also added a few models to show a broader range of what we hold in the collection. This includes two steamboats, a fire boat, battleship, and sailing vessel. And we’ve also got Speed and Innovation in the America’s Cup opening May 27 in the space where the models used to live. So come on in and check it out!
The sinking of RMS Titanic was a horrible disaster that continues to capture the imagination of people everywhere and has inspired many movies, including A Night to Remember.
A Night to Remember was released in 1958 and was (and still is) regarded highly for its accuracy in portraying the actual event. The story is told from the view point of the passengers and crew, especially Second Officer Charles Lightoller, played by Kenneth More. Lightoller was the most senior member of Titanic’s crew to survive.
On April 13, 1942 the destroyer USS Roper (DD-147) spotted the Type VIIB U-boat, U-85, sitting in shallow water off the coast of North Carolina.
After receiving heavy fire from Roper, the captain of U-85 scuttled the U-boat and the crew abandoned ship. Roper dropped eleven depth charges after U-85 was abandoned, believing that other U-boats were nearby, killing the entire of crew of U-85.
On January 30th the AC72 finally arrived! It was met with great excitement by our staff and might now be the most photographed object in the collection since we all had our camera phones out. The delivery came by way of three trucks, two we unloaded that morning and one that arrived later in the day.
The first piece to be unloaded was the central pod. It was an incredibly tight fit, but they managed to get it in. Small doors at a boat museum do not work well. What followed were the forward and aft crossbeams, one of which was so wide that it had to go through a different door and made it around a corner by a hair. This thing is huge! Then came the j-foils and a couple of smaller pieces.
Although I already shared a picture of the Great Hall empty, it took quite a bit of effort to get the last few pieces out. We hired Hampton Roads Crane and Rigging to help us out and, as usual, they did an excellent job.
The first of the three pieces to come down was the stern carving from the paddle wheel steamer Priscilla, in service from 1893-1938. Until Commonwealth was built she was considered the finest steamboat around and could reach a speed of 22mph. Below is a picture of the stern carving on the boat.